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A Journal on Gastroenterology, Nutrition and Dietetics

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Minerva Gastroenterologica e Dietologica 2014 March;60(1):25-38

language: English

Optimal management of alcoholic hepatitis

Raff E. 1, Singal A. K. 2

1 Department of Internal Medicine University of Alabama, Birmingham, AL, USA;
2 Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology University of Alabama, Birmingham, AL, USA


Alcoholic hepatitis, a clinical syndrome among people with chronic and active alcohol abuse presents with with jaundice and liver failure with or without hepatic encephalopathy. In patients with severe episode, this condition has a potential for 40-50% mortality within a month of presentation. Corticosteroids and pentoxifylline, only available current treatment options provide only about 50% survival benefit. Response to corticosteroids can only be assessed at 1 week of initiation of these drugs using Lille score or documentation of improvement in bilirubin levels. Requirement of minimum 6 months abstinence for liver transplantation cannot be met for alcoholic hepatitis patients who fail to respond to steroids. Emerging data on the benefit of liver transplantation for select patients with first episode of severe AH with non-response to steroids are encouraging. There remains an unmet need for studies assessing newer therapeutic targets and drugs and for optimizing the currently available treatment options. In this regard, decision to promote clinical and translational research by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism will be helpful in improving survival of patients with alcoholic hepatitis.

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